Artist: Daniela Ionescu
Exhibition: La Blouse Roumaine
Media: natural silk, hemp, cotton, wool
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Max L. Gatov Gallery East
Daniela is at her final semester here at Cal State Long Beach completing her Masters in Art History. She moved to America from Romania 17 years ago after she got married and her son was born. At first she was an accountant, but after a while, she realized that she hated it. She then ended up going back to school to pursue Art History; even without her parents approval. After graduation she wants to work in a museum where one of their focuses are textiles.
Even though Daniela’s exhibit was relatively simple, I feel like it was still very nice to look at. All of these clothes are in fact from Romania and were all collected online(or in person) from all over the world. The pieces included women’s blouses, dresses, skirts, scarfs, a set of a man’s coat, blouse and trousers. These garments were placed onto wooden poles hung up on the walls and on mannequins.These clothes can range anywhere from few hundred to a couple thousand dollars.
Each article is an original so the story behind them are all different. The lighter color clothing are meant for the younger women and the darker color clothing are meant for the older women. Romanians are very fashionable when it comes to dressing up for holidays like Easter, Christmas, etc. They make sure they are never caught wearing the same outfit. And just by the look of how a piece of clothing was made, one could already tell what region or village they are from. Many people try to wear black because it represents riches and fertility. But even with that, one woman who use to own the blue outfit chose it because she thought the color was very optimistic. It is so hard to find these outfits, Daniela is only able to buy a few every year. Even though these pieces have a lot of historic value, the fashion industry usually ends up stealing these designs from this culture without appreciating where it all came from. This culture appropriation is something that has sadly happened all throughout time all over the world.
I found this exhibit to be very beautiful, especially when she talked about culture appropriation. Whether people realize it or not, culture appropriation is a huge issue in our country. Many people only see clothes as a way to enhance their appearance or express themselves, but never really stop to see if there is any history behind the garments and how much work it took from the natives to create it. I see this several times in the African community, Hispanic community, and the Native American community. If people were aware of this issue and stopped to actually learn the culture and talk to the people among it, I feel like there would be a lot more appreciation and a lot less appropriation.